Nondestructive Testing (NDT)

Nondestructive Testing  

By definition, nondestructive testing and evaluation is the means by which materials and structures may be inspected without disruption or impairment of serviceability. 


Western Technologiesinspectors and technicians have successfully performed tens-of-thousands of nondestructive field and fabrication shop inspections and tests on structural steel components, connections, and assemblages since 1955. In addition, we have applied nondestructive techniques to manufactured components and castings looking for both surface and subsurface flaws. Western Technologiespersonnel are certified for the tests and inspections that they perform by such agencies as ASNT, AWS and ICC. Our NDT equipment is typically portable for use on job sites or in plant facilities, and calibrated in accordance with the applicable code or specification requirements. All test results are evaluated by our knowledgeable and experienced Level II or Level III technicians. 


We provide inspection and consultation consistent with the following codes and standards, AWS, API, ASME, ASTM, AWWA, AISC, ASNT, DOT, and IBC. 


Welding Certification 


Our Certified Welding Inspectors (CWIs) conduct The American Welding Society (AWS) certification and provide the testing necessary to qualify both your welders and your weld procedure. Our comprehensive machine shop, with large sawing capabilities, prepares the tensile, bend, macro etch or impact test specimens from your welded samples. These prepared specimens, called coupons, are then tested according to your required specification.  


Ultrasonic Testing (UT) 


Ultrasonic testing is a method of detecting discontinuities by directing a high-frequency sound beam through the base plate and weld on a predictable path. When the sound beam’s path strikes an interruption in the material, some of the sound is reflected back. The sound is collected by the instrument, amplified and displayed on a video screen. Both surface and subsurface defects in metals can be detected, located and measured by ultrasonic inspection, including flaws too small to be detected by other methods. 


Penetrant Testing (PT) 


An industry standard for decades, liquid penetrant inspection remains one of the most reliable, efficient, and cost-effective methods for detecting surface flaws in non-porous metals, and can be used with austenitic steels and nonferrous materials. 


Magnetic Particle Testing (MT) 


Magnetic particle testing is a method of locating and defining discontinuities in magnetic materials. It is a good method for detecting surface cracks of all sizes in both the weld and adjacent base metal, subsurface cracks, incomplete fusion, undercut and porosity in the weld and base metal. Although not a substitute for radiography or ultrasonic testing for subsurface evaluations, it may present an advantage over those methods in detecting tight cracks and surface discontinuities. 

nondestructive testing NDT using ground penetrating radar GPR

Radiographic Testing (RT) 


After more than a century of use, radiography (X-ray) is still one of the most important, versatile and widely accepted of all nondestructive examination methods. Radiography is based on the ability of X-rays and gamma rays to pass through metal and other materials opaque to ordinary light, and produce photographic records of the transmitted radiant energy. All materials will pass through known amounts of this radiant energy and, therefore, X-rays and gamma rays can be used to show discontinuities and inclusions within opaque materials. The permanent film record of the internal conditions will show the basic information by which weld soundness can be determined. 


Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing (PAUT) 


PAUT is an advanced method of non-destructive ultrasonic testing which can be used to find flaws in manufactured materials such as welds. This method allows the operator to control parameters such as beam angle and focal distance to efficiently detect material defects with a high degree of accuracy and clarity. To test or interrogate a large volume of material, a conventional probe must be physically scanned (moved or turned) to sweep the beam through the area of interest. In contrast, the beam from a phased array probe can be moved electronically, without moving the probe, and can be swept through a wide volume of material at high speed. The beam is controllable because a phased array probe is made up of multiple small elements, each of which can be pulsed individually at a computer-calculated timing.


Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) 


This nondestructive (NDT) method uses electromagnetic radiation in the microwave band (UHF/VHF frequencies) of the radio spectrum, and detects the reflected signals from subsurface structures. GPR can be used in a variety of media including rock, soil, ice, fresh water, pavements and structures. It can detect objects, changes in material, voids and cracks. 


GPR may be utilized by construction professionals as a means to locate targets within and below concrete prior to core drilling or saw cutting. GPR is more accurate, efficient and safer to use than radiography (X-ray). No radiation is involved, so after hours work or clearing of areas is not required. Only single sided access is required for Western Technologies to image any size area quickly and accurately. 


Infrared Thermography (NDT) 


Everything above absolute zero degree temperatures radiates energy in the infrared spectrum. Thermography is a nondestructive (NDT) infrared imaging technique that utilizes an electronic detection system (camera) to display variations in infrared radiation. This technology detects changes in thermal energy (electromagnetic radiation), which is viewed directly on screen and/or converted to a file for storage or hard copy printout. 


Examination of walls and ceilings using infrared thermography can reveal water penetrations or unconditioned air penetration into a home or building. Structures benefit from periodic infrared thermography surveys that identify leaks in roofs and energy inefficiencies. Regularly monitoring structures and equipment allow clients to foresee faults before they become problems. 


Infrared examinations provide critical information on the condition of your electrical and mechanical equipment. Regular periodic inspections drastically reduce unexpected failures and downtime by detecting abnormal temperature patterns that may signify corrosion, damaged wiring, loose connections, faulty breakers, and/or insulation breakdown. Infrared inspections are also useful in evaluating circuit wiring, transformers, and insulators. 

Thick material testing (1)

Special Testing 


Construction Vibration Monitoring 
Before blasting or other construction vibrations begin on your project, Western Technologies  technicians can conduct pre-construction surveys to document the existing conditions that are very important in later evaluation and discussion of the accuracy and validity of damage claims. 

Blasting plans will normally provide for monitoring of peak particle velocities at critical structures or at the closest occupied residences. A seismograph that records motion on three orthogonal axes is typically used to monitor blasting vibrations. These instruments have evolved into small battery-operated units that are triggered by the initial motion to record the motions associated with blasting. The data can be downloaded into a laptop computer for evaluation. 


Load Testing 


Load testing of building components or elements is a standard means of demonstrating a structure’s capabilities when a simple analysis is not practical or requires confirmation. Typical situations that may arise include: 


  • Unknown strength parameters. 
  • Change of use. 
  • Fire damage. 
  • Materials defects. 
  • Suspect performance. 
  • Routine verification of lifting equipment. 

A variety of loading techniques can be used according to the weight required, the condition of the building and logistical limitations. Water and bagged sand are the most common methods. 

Monitoring of deflections is undertaken either electronically, using dial gauges, or by survey, other concerns may also be measured such as crack widths, strains and temperature. 


Other Special Testing 


  • Bridge Elastomeric Bearing Pads 
  • Static Coefficient of Friction 
  • O-Rings 
  • Gaskets 
  • Rebar Tensile Strength 
  • Post-Tension Cable Tensile Strength 
  • Plastic (PVC, HPDE) Pipe 
  • Architectural Stone 
  • Flexure and Shear 

Typically Performed Test Procedures 


A325      Standard Specification for Structural Bolts, Steel, Heat Treated, 120/105 ksi 
Minimum Tensile Strength 


A370      Standard Test Methods and Definitions for Mechanical Testing of Steel Products 

A416      Standard Specification for Steel Strand, Uncoated Seven-Wire for Prestressed 

A490      Standard Specification for High-Strength Steel Bolts, Classes 10.9 and 10.9.3, for 
Structural Steel Joints 

A615      Standard Specification for Deformed and Plain Carbon-Steel Bars for Concrete 

A706      Standard Specification for Low-Alloy Steel Deformed and Plain Bars for Concrete 

C1354    Standard Test Method for Strength of Individual Stone Anchorages in Dimension 

D395      Standard Test Methods for Rubber Property – Compression Set 

D412      Standard Test Methods for Vulcanized Rubber and Thermoplastic Elastomers – 

D429      Standard Test Methods for Rubber Property – Adhesion to Rigid Substrates 

D573      Standard Test Method for Rubber – Deterioration in an Air Oven 

D751      Standard Test Methods for Coated Fabrics 

D1056    Standard Specification for Flexible Cellular Materials – Sponge or Expanded 

D1415    Standard Test Method for Rubber Property – International Hardness 

D2240    Standard Test Method for Rubber Property – Durometer Hardness 

D4014    Standard Specification for Plain and Steel-Laminated Elastomeric Bearings for 

D4787    Standard Practice for Continuity Verification of Liquid or Sheet Linings Applied to 
Concrete Substrates 

D5162    Standard Practice for Discontinuity (Holiday) Testing of Nonconductive Protective 
Coating on Metallic Substrates 

E10         Standard Test Method for Brinell Hardness of Metallic Materials 

E18         Standard Test Methods for Rockwell Hardness of Metallic Materials 

E94         Standard Guide for Radiographic Examination 

E110       Standard Test Method for Indentation Hardness of Metallic Materials By Portable 
Hardness Testers 

E114       Standard Practice for Ultrasonic Pulse-Echo Straight-Beam Examination By The 
Contact Method 

E164       Standard Practice for Contact Ultrasonic Testing of Weldments 

E165       Standard Practice for Liquid Penetrant Examination for General Industry 

E190       Standard Test Method for Guided Bend Test for Ductility of Welds 

E213       Standard Practice for Ultrasonic Testing of Metal Pipe and Tubing 

E273       Standard Practice for Ultrasonic Examination of The Weld Zone of Welded Pipe 
and Tubing 

E290       Standard Test Methods for Bend Testing of Material for Ductility 

E587       Standard Practice for Ultrasonic Angle-Beam Examination By The Contact 

E605       Standard Test Methods for Thickness and Density of Sprayed Fire-Resistive 
Material (SFRM) Applied to Structural Members 

E709       Standard Guide for Magnetic Particle Testing 

E736       Standard Test Method for Cohesion/Adhesion of Sprayed Fire-Resistive 
Materials Applied to Structural Members 

E797       Standard Practice for Measuring Thickness By Manual Ultrasonic Pulse-Echo 
Contact Method 

E999       Standard Guide for Controlling The Quality of Industrial Radiographic Film 

E1030     Standard Test Method for Radiographic Examination of Metallic Castings 

E1032     Standard Test Method for Radiographic Examination of Weldments 

E1220     Standard Test Method for Visible Penetrant Examination Using The Solvent- 
Removable Process 

E1417     Standard Practice for Liquid Penetrant Testing 

E1418     Standard Test Method for Visible Penetrant Examination Using The Water- 
Washable Process 

E1444     Standard Practice for Magnetic Particle Testing 

E1742     Standard Practice for Radiographic Examination 

E1901     Standard Guide for Detection and Evaluation of Discontinuities By Contact 
Pulse-Echo Straight-Beam Ultrasonic Methods 

F36         Standard Test Method for Compressibility and Recovery of Gasket Materials